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  • Supported File Formats: .dwt, .dwg, .dxf, .3dm, .wmf
  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • Free Version: None
  • Supported Devices: Windows, macOS
  • Supported Mobile Apps: iOS, Android
  • Customer Types: Engineers, architects, manufacturers
  • Customer Support: Email, phone
  • Users: Single but up to 3 devices

minimum price:

£246/month

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Autodesk AutoCAD Review

This Autodesk AutoCAD review covers features, plans and pricing, customer reviews, and more — it is your one-stop guide to this software. Read on to find out if AutoCAD suits your needs.

Autodesk AutoCAD Review

minimum price:

£246/month

Visit Website
  • Supported File Formats: .dwt, .dwg, .dxf, .3dm, .wmf
  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • Free Version: None
  • Supported Devices: Windows, macOS
  • Supported Mobile Apps: iOS, Android
  • Customer Types: Engineers, architects, manufacturers
  • Customer Support: Email, phone
  • Users: Single but up to 3 devices

Best For

2D design

STRENGTHS

  • Extremely intuitive interface
  • Not too steep learning curve
  • Excellent customer support
  • Compatible with several file types

WEAKNESSES

  • Limited 3D designing functionality
  • High system requirements

It can be hard to choose a computer-aided design software that perfectly suits your needs since there are so many options out there. If you’re, for example, an engineer or architect, you’ll need computer-aided designing tools that speak your language.

In this Autodesk AutoCAD review, I’ll be covering everything you need to know about this 2D/3D designing software. We’ll also compare the product with its closest competitors to help you decide whether it is the right choice for you.

About Autodesk AutoCAD

Autodesk was founded in 1982 in California. Since then, the company has grown into a multinational corporation that is one of the best creators of design, entertainment, and engineering software. Autodesk is headquartered in San Rafael, California and has offices around the world.

Autodesk’s flagship products include Revit, Civil 3D, Fusion 360, and AutoCAD. AutoCAD was launched in December 1982, and it is one of the oldest products released by the company. The product has been constantly updated over the last 40 years, and the latest version was released in March 2021.

What is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is computer-aided design software specifically meant for engineers, architects, and builders. It allows users to design 2D and 3D models and structures and automate a number of tasks that usually take a lot of time. Moreover, the software supports several APIs and add-ons, which can be used to customise it and add greater functionality. For all the reasons mentioned, AutoCAD is one of the most popular online CAD drawing tools available.

Features

In this section, I’ll cover the main features of Autodesk AutoCAD.

Usability 

Autodesk’s software is highly usable and user-friendly. AutoCAD is constantly updated, remaining one of the leading CAD software for the last 40 years. Even though it has been specifically designed for technical professionals, you won’t need much technical knowledge to use it. There are several training centres around the world where users can learn the ins and outs of the software, and most of these programs last only a few weeks.  

AutoCAD allows you to view and edit your designs on your computer and on the go, either on your smartphone or tablet. You can also view multiple designs on multiple monitors using the same computer for added usability.

2D Drawing

AutoCAD designing software covers drawing, drafting, and annotating. When it comes to 2D design, it offers the following menu entries:

  • Text settings
  • Dimensions
  • Tables
  • Leaders
  • Centrelines
  • Centre marks
  • Revision clouds
  • Views
  • Layouts
  • Fields
  • Data linking

For example, you can create single or multiline text as a single object within the text settings feature. You can also easily format the text by changing the font, size, colour, etc. 

AutoCAD for designing allows you to create dimensions automatically. You can also see a preview of the selected object before creating dimensions. Furthermore, the table function allows linking to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and directly importing data to AutoCAD tables using the Count feature. 

3D Modelling

The 3D modelling features of AutoCAD are as extensive as the 2D drawing features. AutoCAD allows you to model solids, surfaces, and meshes. You can use 3D navigation in a variety of ways to navigate around a 3D model (for example, by orbit, ViewCube, or wheel). 

You can also apply different visual designs to your models. For example, you can control the display of edges, lighting, and shading. Applying effects to give your designs a realistic look is also possible. 

Collaboration 

Collaboration technologies have become increasingly popular as more people work from home. With this in mind, Autodesk has released AutoCAD 2022, which includes two new collaboration features — Trace and Share.

The Share option allows users to send a link to the drawing to anyone who needs to see it. The creator can give the link recipient viewing or editing access. The Trace option, on the other hand, allows a user to electronically mark up a drawing without changing the original drawing.

Tools 

Architecture Toolset

The architecture toolset consists of several specialised tools architects can use to create blueprints and plans as quickly as possible. This toolset includes more than 8,500 architecture components that can even be customised according to specific needs. 

You can also automatically generate architectural objects such as floor plans, sections, and ceiling grids. Once your design is complete, the software can automatically generate objects based on your designs.

Other tools include drawing version management, support for layer standards, display system, etc. 

Map Toolset

The map toolset comes included in the 2022 version of AutoCAD. This toolset is excellent for creating maps or including geography in the design you’re making. It provides integrated CAD and GIS (Geographic Information System) data aggregation.   

Further, you can use the map toolset for precision drafting and data editing. This includes editing geospatial data directly, applying coordinate geometry, drawing clean-up actions, etc. 

The Map toolset provides seamless infrastructure asset design and management. You can use intelligent application modules to manage a wide variety of systems. Moreover, you can use GIS data and convert it to intelligent industry models. 

Mechanical Toolset

The mechanical toolset is meant to be used by civil and mechanical engineers. It provides over 700,000 standardised parts and features. Customised layer management is also included, allowing you to create mechanical layers automatically. You also gain access to bills of materials which allows you to automate a variety of tasks.  

Other useful mechanical designing features include power and automatic dimensioning, GD&T symbols, leader notes, drawing border and title blocks, detailing, etc.

Electrical Toolset

The electrical toolset is highly comprehensive and can be used in conjunction with other toolsets to create an integrated design. 

This toolset consists of more than 65,000 electrical symbols. You can choose any symbol from the library and even customise the symbols in your projects. What’s more, you can save time by allowing the software to count wires and provide component tags automatically. 

The electrical toolset provides automatic reports, support for electrical standards, and more. 

User Experience 

AutoCAD has constantly worked on improving the user experience over the years. The most significant updates took place in 2016 when the UX was overhauled to provide a cleaner and more modern look. 

AutoCAD’s interface is quite intuitive and easy to navigate by both experts and beginners. Moreover, It offers a lot of options without making users feel overwhelmed. This was achieved by properly organising the various options. 

The Count function has been recently added to the user interface. It allows users to automate the counting of blocks and geometry with a single command. Before the new button was introduced, it used to take several hours to perform the count function manually. 

You also have the option of reviewing feedback on an AutoCAD drawing file (DWG) without altering the original design or drawing. This added functionality is a hallmark of the attention to detail that Autodesk brings to its software products. 

Another aspect of the user interface that deserves attention is the AutoCAD “drawing history”. You can compare the latest and older versions of the same design or drawing from a single window. You can also push the designs to different screens if you have several monitors.  

Overall, the AutoCAD user interface and user experience are quite satisfying. The company has clearly worked hard to ensure that the user experience is one of the best among other CAD  software available on the market. While the computer-aided design field remains a competitive space, Autodesk manages to make its offering stand out.  

Plans and Pricing 

AutoCAD has two different pricing options. You can opt for an AutoCAD subscription or a token system. Overall, the AutoCAD price is quite reasonable.

The subscription system is meant for heavy users and those looking for a long-term solution. The token system is meant for those looking for access to the software for just a few hours. Your needs determine which system suits you better. 

Subscriptions

AutoCAD offers three different types of subscriptions:

  1. Monthly — £246 per month, billed monthly
  2. Annual — £1,896 per year, billed annually
  3. Three-year — £5,658 per three years, billed every three years.

Token Plans 

If you’re an intermittent user, this option may suit your needs better. You can purchase tokens that can be used to gain access to the software for a limited time. For example, seven tokens provide access for 24 hours. 

You can purchase 500 tokens for £1,410, 1000 tokens for £2,820, 5,000 tokens for £13,746, or 10,000 tokens for £26,790. Larger quantities are also available but keep in mind the tokens will expire one year from the date of purchase.

Note that you can estimate the tokens needed on Autodesk’s official website by answering a few questions. 

Refund Policy 

If you purchase a monthly subscription and decide to cancel it, you can get a full refund — but only if you cancel within 15 days of the initial purchase. 

If you purchase a longer subscription (yearly or three-year), you can apply for a refund at any time within 30 days of purchase. 

You can also return all fully unused tokens within 30 days of the purchase. 

Customer Service

The best way to reach customer support is through a live chat window available on Autodesk’s website. You will instantly be connected to an agent. In most cases, the issue is solved immediately. If not, you’ll receive a ticket number so you can follow up with the customer support team at a later date. 

Autodesk also has an extensive support section on its website. This section covers almost every aspect of its products. From walkthroughs of the user interface and troubleshooting to frequently asked questions and system requirements, this section attempts to answer almost any issue you may be facing. 

Overall, I think Autodesk’s support is quite effective. The support team is serious about post-sales and pre-sales services. 

Competitors 

AutoCAD vs Inventor 

Autodesk is the proprietor of both AutoCAD and Inventor. While the two products share certain similarities, there are several differences between them. AutoCAD is a do-it-all solution that relies on geometry to allow the design of 2D and 3D models. 

The scope of Inventor, on the other hand, is far more limited. Inventor is intended to be used solely by engineers who design machines and prototypes. As the name suggests, “Inventor” is meant for inventors. 

AutoCAD vs SketchUp

SketchUp was first released in 2000. Since then, it has been acquired by Google and then Trimble. This software has been upgraded and updated numerous times since its release, and many tools and design options have been added since then. However, SketchUp still remains true to its original motto of being easy-to-use and easy-to-learn software. 

Essentially, SketchUp is the low maintenance version of AutoCAD. It is meant for those who need a quick fix to their designing tool problems. SketchUp has a smaller and less steep learning curve along with a lower price point. 

AutoCAD vs Fusion 360 

Both AutoCAD and Fusion 360 are tools released by Autodesk. While AutoCAD is limited to 2D and 3D design and modelling, Fusion 360 is a more comprehensive software that includes CAM, simulation, and animation options. 

Fusion 360 is meant for those who are in engineering, mechanical design, CNC, and 3D printing. This software has a range of features that are not available in AutoCAD. While AutoCAD was built from the ground up using 2D modelling principles, Fusion 360 relies on 3D modelling principles. 

AutoCAD vs SolidWorks 

While AutoCAD and SolidWorks may be competitors, they actually complement each other when it comes to design. Therefore, using both may be the best option for those needing both 2D and 3D modelling tools. 

Even though AutoCAD offers 3D modelling tools, it is a software that is more focused on 2D modelling and designing. In contrast, SolidWorks thrives when it comes to 3D design. 

Customer Reviews 

AutoCAD software has received mostly positive reviews from users. It is rated 4 stars out of 5. The main reasons users love AutoCAD are:

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Reasonable price
  • Excellent customer support

Nevertheless, AutoCAD has its fair share of negative reviews as well. According to some users, the software is difficult to use when it comes to 3D modelling. Furthermore, its dimension marking system has several haters. Another common complaint was that the system requirements are too high and the software hangs on slower computers. 

Wrap Up 

AutoCAD is one of the oldest CAD products on the market but has managed to remain fresh and cutting-edge to this day. Autodesk leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that the latest updates are built into the software. It is one of the best software apps for computer-aided designing. 

AutoCAD is best for use by engineers, architects, and graphic designers. It is especially useful if you need to draw technical designs and collaborate with others at the same time. The software has come a long way since it was first released in 1982 and now carries a host of features ready to be used by the most demanding professionals.  

Lastly, I hope this Autodesk AutoCAD review helped you get a better understanding of how this software works. I would recommend AutoCAD to anyone whose primary needs are 2D drawing and excellent collaboration tools.

FAQ

What is Autodesk AutoCAD used for?

The Autodesk AutoCAD is primarily used for creating 2D designs and 3D models. However, it also offers several collaboration tools.

Can I download AutoCAD for free?

You can download AutoCAD for free for a trial period of 30 days. The AutoCAD license will expire in 30 days.

Are AutoCAD and Autodesk the same thing?

No, they are not the same thing. Autodesk is the company that offers the AutoCAD software product.

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